Saturday, December 6, 2008


I think the greatest condiment invention is aioli, so simple to make and alter the flavour and perfect on roast potatoes, french fries well just about anything.
I had an odd experience the other day though, when whisking the oil into the egg yolk it plain out refused to thicken at all, it was quite a humid day, anyone know why this could of happened?

salty coffee....

I came across an interesting post on ideasinfood the other day about adding salt to your coffee beans before you grind them, so I decided to try the experiment using the same beans one lot with salt and one without. All I can say is try it for yourself it makes a huge difference to the flavour (just don't add too much otherwise it will taste salty, just a few granules makes the difference)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Brown Butter & Sage Gnocchi

I thought I'd try my hand at making Gnocchi for the first time. A little research and found a simple recipe, and then decided to add to it.

I got a pan on a medium heat and put a decent lump of butter in there and let it sit, spit and bubble until it had turned a deep hazelnut colour (I can not say enough about brown butter, it's delish great with pasta and the aroma is amazing). Then added a handful of sage leaves and 2 eggs and pureed it.I had about 600 grams of (floury) potatoes peeled and cubed and boiling until nice and soft.
Next time I'll have to remember the post from Ideas in Food and what they did to their potato skins, and the byproduct sounds like fun to play with.

Wrap up

Haven't bought grapefruit for a long time, but I saw a couple with my name on them at the supermarket, very juicy and very tasty.

Sun Sun Sun

Our crazy cat...


I've been a little lazy posting on here, and also a bit more kicked out of the kitchen as the better half has taken over. We've had some nice spicy coated chicken drums, a noodle broth with a dose of Thai mint and coriander and at the moment, she's working on an Asian themed meatball/noodle combo.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Curry?!

Well, I don't know if I should call this a curry, it may not be, perhaps I should call it a aromatic spicy pumpkin stew. It's pretty quick and easy to whip together, and is great comfort food.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Apple Shortcake

I don't normally bake sweet things at home (I'll buy them tho). But feeling the need for something sweet...

Apple Shortcake
So so easy to make, preheat oven to 180C

220 grams flour
1 tsp baking powder
125 grams butter (cold and diced)
1 egg
2 Tbsp Milk
1 tsp sugar

Put the flour, sugar, butter and baking powder in a blender or rub in by hand until similar to breadcrumbs.

Mix the egg and a little milk in to the flour mixture to form a dough. Cut in half and roll out each half to the same size. Place one layer down and then place sliced (and cored) apples on top, so they overlap each other a little, sprinkle with sugar (I use brown with some nutmeg and cinnamon), place 2nd layer of dough on top, brush with milk, trim and bake for 25 minutes.

Cut while it's still hot and sprinkle with icing sugar.


Well I've been a little lazy about getting my posts up here, Internet is dreadfully slow at home at the moment, so am "borrowing" works bandwidth. I thought I'd do a little photo essay type thing over a couple of post, so enjoy...

Monday, October 6, 2008

First time for everything

I’ve never cooked pork before, ever, and I hardly ever eat it. I do however consume, ham, bacon and other cured pig meat.

Pork wasn’t really a meat cooked in my household when I was growing up, and I also recall hearing when I was younger about Cysticercosis, a tapeworm that you can get from undercooked pork that lives in your brain. So I think that may be a big factor in the avoidance of pork.

So this was a little adventure, I had in my fridge a nice sized fillet end leg of pork and all fears of worm brain related deaths put aside, I started to work on this lovely piece of meat. I firstly took out the bone for easier carving later and then realized I knew nothing about cooking times, duh, so thanks to the New Zealand Pork Industry Board website that changed quickly (25-30 minutes per 500g and an internal temperature of 71˚C-76˚C, the temperature will rise about 5˚ when resting). I made a few incisions into the meat and stuffed in garlic and sage leaves, rubbed it down with salt and oil, giving the skin side a thorough massage of salt.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Corn Chowder

Monday is never a great day (being the first day back at work) and it was a cold, wet and windy one here in Wellington too. After getting the shopping done and hanging around 30 minutes for my lift, I felt like something to warm me up, so decided on corn chowder with a bit of bite to it. Best of all it takes almost no effort or time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beans the magical "fruit"

Now get your mind out of the gutter, I always make sure I have a can or 3 of cannellini or butter beans in the pantry, and a good stash of dried for when I actually plan ahead. They're a great staple and can be put to so many uses, all of them tasty (i hope).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brined Chicken

Chicken tonight, but not content with my usual roast chook, I decided to try something different, brining it. And I have to say after tasting the results, this will be my roasting method of choice from now on.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mustard beef with minted potatoes and mushy peas

Friday and the last thing I felt like was cooking, but also really wanted a good hunk of meat to eat, luckily I had a nice piece of topside in the fridge, so pulled that out and got to work on a nice bit of roast beef. Topside isn't the most tender of cuts but it's very tasty (a good way to counter the toughness of the cut is to slice it very thinly)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pork Loin Chops with Cauliflower

Juniper berries
Apple Cider Vinegar
Pork loin chops
Crème fraîche
Brussel sprouts

Mise en place
Juice a lemon
Crush juniper berries
Slice Sage in to strips
Floret cauliflower
De-Stem brussel sprouts (and halve)

Place into a bowl/dish apple cider, lemon juice, crushed juniper berries, sage, salt, pepper and pork chops.
Mix, making sure the meat is coated in the liquid, let sit for 30 minutes and give it a good mix up again, let it sit a final 30 minutes.

10-15 minutes before the meat is finished marinating, put a couple of inches of water in a pot with a good dose of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Once boiling add the cauliflower and cook until tender.
Blend the cauliflower with a little of the liquid until smooth.
Add back to the empty pot, and on a low heat, cook off the liquid in the puree until it thickens up (about 30% reduction).
Set aside.
In a bowl, mix a good tablespoon or two of crème fraîche with a dollop of horseradish puree, set aside until the cauliflower has had a chance to cool a little.

Get a steamer on the go ready to cook the brussel sprouts while the chops are cooking.

In a frying pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil until smoking hot, and place chops in the hot oil and leave to cook about 4 minutes per side (time will vary on thickness).
DO NOT discard the marinade.
Once cooked, let the chops rest in a warm place.

Tip oil out of the pan, and place back on heat, tip the marinade in to deglaze the pan, add a knob of butter and nutmeg, then when butter is almost melted add the brussel sprouts and coat.

Just before serving, mix the crème fraîche mixture with the cauliflower, and heat through.


The Crap Kitchen - Behold!

Well this is where I cook, this is the entire workspace I have, and I can't comfortably use the left hand elements as there is a nice shelf in the way, oh well.

The slow – quick lamb roast

Lamb roast with roast potatoes
A bag you can seal
Butterflied leg of lamb
Duck fat
Lemons (2–3)
Potatoes (enough)
Yogurt (Natural, thick Greek style)

The Night Before

Mise en place
Juice a lemon (keep rinds)
Peel and crush garlic
Blend (finely chop) parsley and mint

Place in to the bag yogurt, mint, parsley, lemon juice, lemon rind, garlic, salt and pepper.
Shake bag to mix.
Place lamb in bag and knead to work the liquid into the meat.
Leave overnight in the fridge

The yogurt mixture helps flavour and tenderise the meat.

When you're ready to cook

Mise en place
Remove lamb from fridge and bring to room temperature
Quarter potatoes (if small new potatoes, other wise 8ths)
Slice lemons (season with salt) and place on the bottom of a roasting dish, then place rack over the top
In another Roasting pan add a good 2–3 tablespoons of duck fat and set aside.
Heat oven to 180˚C

Place the lamb in the roasting dish (with the rack and lemons) and poor over excess yogurt mix, and place in oven (cook approx 15–20 minutes per 500 gram for medium).
When lamb is done, remove from oven, place on board and cover to rest.
Then put temperature up to
220˚C place the roasting pan with the duck fat into the oven and let heat until almost smoking.
Boil a pot full of salted water, when up to the boil, add potatoes, cook for 3 minutes.
Drain potatoes and pat dry.
Quickly remove the roasting pan from the oven (place on a wooden board so less heat is lost from the pan) and tip in potatoes, careful not to splash hot fat on yourself, give a quick shake and return to the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown then season with salt.
When there is about 5 minutes left on the potatoes, thinly slice the lamb leg ready to serve.

Serve with caramelised lemons (from roasting dish), salad, a simple yogurt dressing (lemon, mint & yogurt + seasoning) for the potatoes and lamb and enjoy.

Note: as the duck fat is so hot when you add the potatoes not much fat is absorbed by them, so it is not as unhealthy as it sounds, but damn tasty!

1st post - Cannellini & Chorizo Soup

Welcome, as a renter of property rather than an owner, I often (read always) end up with a crap tiny kitchen to work in, much to my dismay (usually, number of bedrooms, sun, size of lounge & price override the want of a nice kitchen), but in hardship comes inspiration and the need to not let my surroundings get the better of me!

I do promise in future posts to include images of the process and final product of recipes but not in this one sorry.

A major staple in my pantry is always canned beans, they are so versatile and can be used to create great dishes.

Cannellini & Chorizo Soup
Potatoes (Nadine or similar)
Olive Oil
Cannellini beans
Stock (chicken)

Mise en place
Finely dice - Celery, Chorizo, Shallots & Garlic
Very thinly slice - Potatoes
Warm - Stock

In a pot, warm olive oil till very hot and add shallots, garlic, thyme and half the celery saute till soft & transparent. Remove thyme. Season well with salt (sea) and pepper. Add beans and stock and let simmer gently while you work on the rest.

In a saute pan, add oil and when very hot add the rest of the celery and saute till soft then add diced chorizo and cook until nicely caramelised. Set aside on a plate or in a bowl.

In the same pan, add a good knob of butter & thyme and just before it browns lay out the potatos in the pan and let them sit, basting now and then with the butter (they will cook quickly).

While the potatoes are cooking, take the simmering beans and blend until silky smooth, (add back to the pot) add in chorizo and celery and let simmer very gently, add the potatoes (minus the thyme) to the pot and let simmer for a minute or two.

Season to taste.

Serve in bowls, finish with a swirl of olive oil and cracked pepper.

A good hunk of crusty bread and butter is a perfect way to sop this soup up.